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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: July 9, 2010, 12:27 pm 
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Joined: January 24, 2009, 1:33 pm
Posts: 278
Location: St.Thomas Ontario
I did a search and didn't find any kind of list like this and thought it would be helpful to put together for newer builders and those interested. If you can't start building yet, you can at least acquire tools!

Lets try to keep this well organized and occasionally I'll try to aggregate the posts into this one.

THE LIST

REQUIRED - 90% chance you're going to need it:

Hand Tools
- Wrenches - SAE and Metric
- Socket set - SAE and Metric
- Set of screwdrivers
- Pliers set
- hex wrenches - donor / parts dependent.
- Metal files
- Hacksaw
- Assortment of C-Clamps
- Large locking Pliers
- Rivet gun
- Tin Snips
- Single and Double flairing tool
- Tube bender for hard brake & fuel lines
- Cleco's and cleco pliers - 25-50
- Leather, wood & plastic faced hammers
- Tap & die set SAE and Metric

Power Tools
- Welder & safety gear (mask & welding gloves) - $500-$1000
- Angle grinder with cutoff wheel, knotted wire wheel(they shoot less wires), and 80 grit flap disc
- Electric drill - Corded(more power) or Cordless(more mobility)
- Drill bits - 2 sets 1/8" to 1/2"
- pancake drill adapter or aircraft drill - to get into hard to reach places

Measurement
- 12" Combination Square Set
- Large Steel Square
- Steel Scribe set
- Tape measure in same measurement your plans are.
- Dial gauge angle finder
- 6" Digital Caliper
- Multi-meter

General
- Floor Jack & Jack stands
- Engine hoist / Garage crane
- Bench Vice - Mount it well.
- Metal brake - buy or build

Electrical
- Wire cutters / Crimper
- Assortment of wire connectors

Safety
- Ear plugs
- Clear face shield
- ear plugs
- Safety glasses


RECOMMENDED - You will probably want it:
- Air compressor
- Impact gun
- Blow gun
- Air rivet gun
- Chop-saw (satisfactory cuts but hot, smelly, sparky and loud) or Horizontal band-saw with quality bi-metal blade (preferred due to accuracy and ease of use -no noise, sparks, etc)
- Latex gloves
- Work gloves
- Auto darkening welding helmet
- Welders angle magnets
- Drill Press
- Holesaws ie. for gauges
- Assorted Nut & Bolt & washer set ??what sizes???
- Roller shop stool

HELPFUL - probably expensive, not really needed. But you might want it:
- Lathe - $varies
- Mill - $varies
- Plasma Cutter - $800
- Electric or air metal snips

Updated 7/9/2010 - with chetcpo's items.
Updated 7/14/2010 - Davew, Eroshi & Daed's additions


Last edited by dilbert on July 15, 2010, 8:59 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: July 9, 2010, 12:47 pm 
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Location: Charleston, WV
I don't see a metal cutting bandsaw on that list. I've built a couple of frames, the first one I did 90% of it without a chop saw. I used a hacksaw and an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. I then used a chopsaw to cut the 1/8" wall tubing I made my suspension brackets from.
Then for around $150 I bought the HF metal cutting bandsaw before I made my next frame and it was soooooooo much better than a chopsaw. Minimal heat, even when cutting thick stuff, quiet, no sparks flying, super accurate even with compound angles and it didn't cost a lot more than a chop saw. So to sum up my experiences when it comes to cutting steel for frame fabrication I'd rate them as follows:

Required: Bench vice, hacksaw, angle grinder
Recommended: Chopsaw (satisfactory cuts but hot, smelly, sparky and loud) or Horizontal bandsaw with quality bimetal blade (preferred due to accuacy and ease of use -no noise, sparks, etc)

I would also strike the welding magnets from the required list and move them to the helpful list. If we are to include a clamping mechanism in the required section I would consider 4-6" C-clamps and or a couple pairs of welding vice grips.

Ah screw it, I made my own list below of the tools I really wouldn't want to build a locost without. I left out some of the luxuries like compressors, chop/bandsaws, etc. This tool list includes most of the things you will need from stripping the donor to assembling your bodywork. (except common hand tools like wrenches and screwdrivers) Feel free to critique. (I know you will) :P


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PostPosted: July 9, 2010, 4:10 pm 
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I would add following
Cleco's 25 to 50 req'd plus pliers [I would also suggest the 1" cleco side clamps]
Pancake or right angle aircraft drill adaptor "for threaded drill bits"
Air or electric sheet metal shears
leather, wood and plastic faced hammers
both SAE and metric tap & die set
Single and double flanging tool
VOM
Even if you have a lot of handle tools, you should still budget $1000 or $2000 for tools.
we should probably break the tools down categorically. i.e. for the frame, sheet metal, electrical, brake & water lines, etc. and then priority: have to have and nice to have.
Dave W


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PostPosted: July 9, 2010, 8:54 pm 
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At the very least, I would probably elaborate "wrenches" into something more like: "A decent set of combination wrenches (open plus box ended) along with a good socket set. Both SAE and metric sizes may be necessary depending on parts and donor you select."

And don't forget a typical set of screwdrivers that cover both flat and phillips heads. Another thought might be a set of hex wrenches .. but that is probably donor / parts dependent.

I know all of this is probably a bit more broken out than may seem necessary, but we get quite a few dreamers who may be starting the whole idea from scratch.

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PostPosted: July 14, 2010, 2:35 pm 
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Mentioned and obvious but a good set of sockets and a ratchet.
Kind of a luxury, but seconding on the electric/air metal snips, they are amazing for getting a perfect and easy cut for aluminum work.
A decent drill press is a great tool to have as well and isn't that expensive.
Speaking of drills, I prefer a good rechargable with an extra battery to a corded electric drill, not only because you don't have to hassle with a cord, but so you don't break your wrists or smash your fingers, drilling metal with something with a lot of power can be quite dangerous.
Don't know if you want to put 'disposable' items on the list, but at least 2 sets of drills bits from 1/8" to 1/2". Holesaws are useful, I've found 1", 1.5", 1.75" and 3" to be useful. I also wish that I had bought one of those trays of like 1000 small nuts, bolts and washers. I've spent a ton of extra money and time takeing trips to the hardware store to getting a few at a time. :|
I just got one of those short little shop stools with a tool tray beneath it, I wish I had that from start! Once you get a roller it really comes in handy, keeps your tools somewhat centralized and saves your back.
A metric tape measure is great to have as well so you don't have to convert everything from the plans over.


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PostPosted: July 14, 2010, 4:11 pm 
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Location: St.Thomas Ontario
davew wrote:
I would add following
Cleco's 25 to 50 req'd plus pliers [I would also suggest the 1" cleco side clamps]
Pancake or right angle aircraft drill adaptor "for threaded drill bits"
Air or electric sheet metal shears
leather, wood and plastic faced hammers
both SAE and metric tap & die set
Single and double flanging tool
VOM
Even if you have a lot of handle tools, you should still budget $1000 or $2000 for tools.
we should probably break the tools down categorically. i.e. for the frame, sheet metal, electrical, brake & water lines, etc. and then priority: have to have and nice to have.
Dave W


What are these?
VOM
Pancake or right angle aircraft drill adaptor "for threaded drill bits"


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PostPosted: July 14, 2010, 6:05 pm 
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Location: 4AGE in S.E. Michigan
dibert

VOM = Volt Ohm Meter

The Pancake drill is an offset drill adaptor that usually comes in 2 or 3” offsets. It is just a series of straight cut gears in a case, with an input shaft that you attach your drill to and on the other side on the opposite end you attach a threaded drill bit. The right angle aircraft drill or adaptor also takes a threaded drill bits. Both of these allows you to get into tight spaces such as the lower trans tunnel area, or the seat back area, to attach the aluminum panels. You will need one or the other and 2 or 3 size number 30 threaded drill bits. Check E-bay for used pancake or aircraft drills, and surplus drill bit. You can buy new bits from Aircraft Spruce but they are about $12 each. In either 10- or ¼ thread sizes. I have both and use them all the time on projects or around the house. You also will end up making a lot of riveting tools, like rivet fans and rivet patterns jigs, hole finders, and alignment tools.
It's all part of the build process, Dave W


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PostPosted: September 19, 2010, 9:58 pm 
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I use a Makita chop saw - noisy, smelly and sparky but does a great job and is very accurate.
I also have an old Delta bandsaw (vintage 1940's) that I added a jackshaft to slow down the blade for steel (high speed is fine for aluminum). Used it for decades but just bought a bimetal 32 tpi blade from Enco. Wow!! Works very well and has outlasted regular blades 10 to 1! The fine toothed blade is the solution for tubing. A coarser blade hangs up on the thin metal.
Also in my collection is an old Craftsman 6" x 48" belt sander with a 9" disc sander. Again - works very well for fitting tubes and "cutting" in compound angles. I use good belts and get the PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) stick on discs (again from Enco).
Enco has free shipping on $25.00 or more almost every month. I google search the free shipping.
Hearing protection is a must for some of these.

John

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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 2:25 pm 
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Two drills!!

I like corded because the cord never get's in the way too much and I've got power all over.

I learned this trick in the scene shop at school and it's a shocking time saver. Two drills with either the two most common drill bit's that you are using or one with the predrill drill bit and the other with the screw bit. The amount of time you save, even over people with quick change tool heads (no pop, spin, insert, lockdown moves needed) is phenomenal! And if you are using a corded drill as one of them then it's almost as cheap as a quick change tool head.

I also like to load up a small handcart with the tools and parts that I'll be working on that day, or that shift. Keeps everything together, is easy to put back once done and I don't have to constantly go back and forth to the tool rack.


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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 4:58 pm 
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Did anyone mention a level? And a plain old hammer? A plumb bob? You can make your own plumb bob of course.


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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 5:00 pm 
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Drill press vise.


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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 6:00 pm 
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned a point-n-shoot camera. Besides the obvious part about posting your progress on this website, there are other things it can be used for. Such as documenting how all the bits go together before you disassemble the donor. Or taking snapshots of other builds at the annual meet. I always feel like I made progress as I look back at pictures of the worn and greasy parts from the donor now sitting so clean and painted on my Locost. I also sometimes use the camera to "see" things that are burried up there, where you can't get your head in the right position, or the bifocals are just out of range. Just hold the camera up and shoot. If it doesn't turn out, then shoot again.

Maybe not a "tool" in the traditional sense, but certainly I wouldn't want to build without one.

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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 6:22 pm 
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Hey Kartracer47 what blade speed did you get your old Delta band saw down to??? I would try to try the jack shaft scheme out myself. Do you have any pics of same?


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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 6:53 pm 
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rx7locost wrote:
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned a point-n-shoot camera. Besides the obvious part about posting your progress on this website, there are other things it can be used for. Such as documenting how all the bits go together before you disassemble the donor. Or taking snapshots of other builds at the annual meet. I always feel like I made progress as I look back at pictures of the worn and greasy parts from the donor now sitting so clean and painted on my Locost. I also sometimes use the camera to "see" things that are burried up there, where you can't get your head in the right position, or the bifocals are just out of range. Just hold the camera up and shoot. If it doesn't turn out, then shoot again.

Maybe not a "tool" in the traditional sense, but certainly I wouldn't want to build without one.

I must be getting senile. I'm a professional photographer and I didn't think of a camera. :cheers:


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PostPosted: December 17, 2010, 11:04 pm 
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In addition to all these fine suggestions, I would recommend this series of videos from MIT. Several hours of how to work with metal, and various tools for that. Seriously a project like this could require you to do something like drill a hole. I learned stuff at every level on this series. It's enjoyable, but did give me some serious desire for real tools, even just simple lathes and milling machines...

http://techtv.mit.edu/genres/24-how-to/videos/142-machine-shop-1

Oh, and consider an air drill since you have a compressor already. Very small, powerful, controllable etc. Air tools are light and strong because the big motor is over on the compressor...

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